The technical community has identified rotor efficiency as a critical enabling technology for large vertical-lift transport (LVLT) rotorcraft. The size and performance of LVLT aircraft will be far beyond current aircraft capabilities, enabling a transformational change in cargo transport effectiveness. Two candidate approaches for achieving high efficiency were considered for LVLT applications: a variable-diameter tiltrotor (VDTR) and a variable-speed tiltrotor (VSTR); the former utilizes variable-rotor geometry and the latter utilizes variable-rotor speed. Conceptual aircraft designs were synthesized for the VDTR and VSTR and compared to a conventional tiltrotor (CTR). The aircraft were optimized to a common objective function and bounded by a set of physical- and requirements-driven constraints. The resulting aircraft were compared for weight, size, performance, handling qualities, and other attributes. These comparisons established a measure of the relative merits of the variable-diameter and -speed rotor systems as enabling technologies for LVLT capability.